Road Trip Advice from the Front Seat

This summer, Scott and I took two road trips, one as a couple and one as a family.  They were two very different trips, with different stories.  The first trip we drove west and stopped in places like Salt Lake City, San Francisco, Temecula (California), Las Vegas, Arches National Park, and the Rocky Mountain National Park.  Our family road trip, took us to Maine and back home, following pretty much the same route, with a few detours here and there.  Our combined travels from June and July totaled over 7600 miles, across the United States and back.  (We are so happy that we chose to rent cars, because our tired old van would probably still be in Vegas.)

I wanted to quickly share with the world some things we learned from our travels.  I have not learned the “blogging for business” model, so any products I discuss and link to are things that we have used and actually endorse for FREE.  No one will pay me anything if you click on a link, or sign up, (although if you want to, I will happily supply my address 😉 )

Scott’s Road trip Ideas:

* Keep a family book of Road Trip ideas that work and take notes on things that didn’t work.  It’s also a great place to keep a “State list” of places where you have been, as well as a list of places you want to go.

*Find deals, and use them.  For our two trips, Scott booked our hotels through  They have The Welcome Rewards program where if you book 10 nights, then you get one for free.  We are really close to a free night! Plus, it allows us to know if the hotel has free breakfast, wifi, pool, and all of the other things that might make the trip fun.

* Use Waze for your navigation tool, if you have a smart phone.  Waze is social media for the map lovers.  Using that program, we were given the fastest route, alerts of reported police officers, and construction slow down.  It really helped us plan our stops along the way and avoid any bathroom emergencies in stopped traffic.  Plus, you earn points for travel.  If you sign up for Waze, feel free to connect with scodafi (he is Scott’s character).

Finally, here are my road trip tips and tricks:

* Have a cooler with your favorite road trip appropriate beverages, cold snacks, and lunch/dinner items.  Ice is cheap, and you can buy it any most gas stations and some fast food restaurants.

* When you get to the hotel, set everything out that you need for the next morning in the appropriate spot.  For example, I hang up the next days clothes so the wrinkles work themselves out.  I also set out my daily medicine and vitamins the night before, and pack the pill bottles away in my luggage so I don’t lose the whole bottles.  By doing things like this, we were able to get up, showered and out of our hotel room in less than an hour on our long drive days.  Plus, we did not forget one thing.

* Bring laundry pods, instead of laundry soap.  They are genius and take up very little room.  Plus, I only had to bring 3-5 and not a whole container.

* Use baggies, large and small to separate and organize.  I love our planet and we are strict recyclers, but on road trips, we use more than our fair share of baggies.  We store them for further road trips if they were used for things like electrical chords.

* Be flexible.  It’s a road trip.  If you see something neat along the way, stop and see it.  Who knows when you will see it again.

* Take pictures. (I am a photo junkie and an addict, I know, but pictures are the best souvenirs.) Now that we are home, and coming down from our wonderful trip, I get to relive it all over again as I sort through our photos.

* In the car, we bend the rules from home.  The kids get to plug-in, where at home, their screen time is minimal.  However, if they run out of charge, then it’s a sign to all of us, that they used their electronics too much, and it’s time to read.  They also choose to stare out the window.  Why not?  Isn’t that what trips are about?

*Use headphones for electronic devices.  It was so nice NOT to listen to The Muppet Movie  5 times a day.  It’s a great movie, but we were all happier that we didn’t keep hearing Ana’s movie of the summer over and over.

* The kids are in charge of their road trip items, as well as keeping the backseat clean and picked up.  Family vacations are fun, and it takes everyone helping out to keep them that way.

* We rewarded our kids for their good travel.  Sometimes we stopped at a park, sometimes it was a pouch of fruit snacks (another item they don’t get at home), sometimes we let them make a big decision.  The rewards didn’t cost much, if anything, and the kids were so proud they were earning them.

Those are our  tips and tricks for road trips, from both the front seat and the backseat. We have traveled quite the distance this summer, not to mention our weekend trip to the Rocky Mountains (another 1300 miles) this past winter and a spring get away to the Twin Cities (another 900 miles). Sorry for another list-type post, but I wanted to share some things that we found useful.

As always, I love comments, please leave one.  Where is one place you want to go?


3 thoughts on “Road Trip Advice from the Front Seat

    • The Canada side was so much prettier and the US side was cheaper looking. I had some great friends who went there, they spent the night in US and walked over to Canada during the day. They are a must see!

  1. Wonderful tips! I may have to use them someday. We r hoping to go to Biafra falls someday. I would like to get passports, but would prefer to spent my money in the US.

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